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EU-Turkey paper - Turkey and the European Union Complex...

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Turkey and the European Union: Complex Controversy, Inevitable Alteration Kristen Stortz Carlos Rodriguez European Economy November, 2007 1
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Recent world trends have seen the break-up of numerous dynasties and empires resulting in a multitude of smaller independent nation states. Amidst this current trend, the fast rise of the EU has been an unusual feat. As this organization has continued to grow, many members have become wary of admitting more members for fear of compromising the effectiveness of the institution. Consequently, the admission process has become more rigorous and controversial. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn recently proclaimed, “It is time to create a new consensus on EU enlargement policy that is based on the consolidation of our commitments, rigorous application of conditionality, and better communication with our citizens.” (“Europa”) Among the several countries seeking admittance to the EU, the argument over Turkey has been particularly challenging due to the cultural, religious, economical and geographical diversity it would bring to the EU. This paper analyzes the validity of these arguments based on current EU precedent and established enlargement outlines. Consequently, we have found that barring certain political and cultural issues, Turkey is on the right track to meet EU standards of admission. Hence, the true question is, are the issues at the root of this controversy ones on which Turkey can truly improve, or are they steeped in historical prejudices that today have yet to be resolved? The EU: A Brief Overview In order to fully comprehend the arguments and controversy concerning Turkey’s potential admittance into the EU, it is necessary to understand the history and background of the EU, which have served to form the context of this issue. 2
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The European Union (EU) began as a mere regional economic agreement among six neighbouring states only fifty-six years ago (1951). Today, it exists as a powerful conglomeration of 27 countries across a continent. The original members that comprised the European Coal and Steel Community (Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) believed that the integration of Europe was vital to economic and political progress after the devastation in Europe during WWII. In 1957, the success of the integration of the coal and steel industries gave greater incentive to reduce trade barriers in other areas for the six member countries. Consequently, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Community were established and provided these countries with a common market. These communities were officially unified under the European Community. Under this title, Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom joined in 1973, Greece in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986. In 1992, the EC developed its foreign policy and judicial affair positions in addition to creating an economic and monetary union, thus establishing the European Union. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined, and in
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